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T. E. Lawrence to Colonel A. P. Wavell


Dear Wavell

I am reading your book, and liking it very much. My first vanity, when I got it, was to look up myself in the index! I apologise for this: but so many people have either overdone or underdone the Arab business that it's a real pleasure to see a fair statement of the case; so I take back my apology. You have thrown several of your rare flowers at my person: this wasn't necessary, you know! The author has only too good an opinion, already, of his rotten prose. I haven't, of course, yet got very far. Indeed I've only turned it over and read the tit-bits: they have left me with a sharp appetite for it all: and as leisure serves me I'm going right through, checking each move with the map. I fancy there will be more lessons in the Palestine Campaigns than in the French ones. I hope you have kept the enemy always in the picture. War-books so often leave them out: and neither Liman nor Kress is very palatable. No, India is not good. We are seven miles from Karachi. I have passed a lot of self-denying ordinances, one of which keeps me within camp-bounds, another forbids me the canteen, a third prevents my ever sitting down on another bed than my own. Imagine me as a plaster saint: but even that wasn't enough. [44 words omitted] Salmond, knowing that, stepped in and saved me. So all is well, and my conduct sheet still white. If I'm lucky it will be England in 1930. The only decent thing about India is the climate here: never cold enough for an overcoat, or hot enough for a sun-helmet. A marvellous relief after Arabia and Egypt.

I'm glad you have the mechanical side to play with. It will completely change the face of future tactics, I think and hope. The abolition of the rifle, shall we say? A very good riddance. Give my regards to Barty and Clayton, if you meet them some while.

That fat-head [name omitted] is going to write a book against Gertrude and me. Cat and puppy, it was. Will he call us soul-affinities! Fat-head again to him.

Very many thanks indeed for the book. I'll try & write you again, when I've done it justice, so far as reading-time goes. 

T.E. Shaw

A. P. Wavell, The Palestine Campaigns (London, Constable, 1928)
Liman - Liman von Sanders
Kress - Kress von Kressenstein
'Barty' - General Barthomomew
Clayton - General Clayton

Source: DG 565-6
Checked: dn/
Last revised: 6 January 2006

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